Maximilian Ponder has been shut away for 30 years, attempting to record every memory he has ever had - a story of friendship, memory, what creates a life.
Maximilian Ponder shut himself away for thirty years in an attempt to record every memory he ever had. Now he lies dead, surrounded by his magnum opus - The Catalogue - an exhaustive set of notebooks and journals that he hopes will form the map of one human mind.
But before his friend Alex Last can call the police and inform them of Maxz's death, one rather gruesome task remains in order for Max's project to be complete. Interspersed with sections from The Catalogue, Alex tells the story of the man he knew - a man whose life changed dramatically the day he buried a dead labrador and fought a duel with his father.
What emerges is both the story of a friendship and also of a lifelong obsession, a quest to understand the human mind, memory and what constitutes a life.
John Ironmonger was born and grew up in East Africa. He has a doctorate in zoology, and was once an expert on freshwater leeches. He is the author of The Good Zoo Guide and the novels The Notable Brain of Maximilian Ponder (shortlisted for the 2012 Costa First Novel Prize and the Guardian's Not the Booker Prize), The Coincidence Authority and The Whale at the End of the World (an international bestseller). He has also been part of a world record team for speed reading Shakespeare, has driven across the Sahara in a 100 banger, and once met Jared Diamond in a forest in the middle of Sumatra.